The Conservatives have thrown down the gauntlet to its rivals by announcing that it will raise the 40 per cent tax threshold from £41,900 to £50,000 if they win the 2015 General Election

This was the promise made by David Cameron at this week’s Conservative Party Conference, a surprise move viewed by political experts as part of a play for votes ahead of next year’s general election.

Currently UK consumers pay a 20 per cent basic rate of tax on the first £31,865 they earn above the personal allowance and then 40 per cent on earnings up to £150,000.

The pledge is in addition to increasing the tax-free personal allowance from £10,500 to £12,500 by 2020.
Cameron said the personal allowance changes would mean one million of the country’s lowest-paid workers do not have to pay income tax at all.

The announcement comes a day after Chancellor George Osborne said he would freeze working age benefits for two years after the election to save £3bn.

The Prime Minister admitted “The 40p tax rate was only supposed to be paid by the most well off people in our country but in the past couple of decades far too many have been dragged into it.”

Wonga has announced that it is to write off more than 330,000 loans which are more than a month in arrears following an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

On top of this around a further 45,000 customers who are up to 29 days in arrears will be asked to repay their debt without interest and charges.
The payday lender says it will be contacting all customers by 10 October to notify their particular loan is included in the above numbers.

A spokesman for the FCA, said: “We are determined to drive up standards in the consumer credit market and it is disappointing that some firms still have a way to go to meet our expectations. This should put the rest of the industry on notice – they need to lend affordably and responsibly.”

A notice on the Wonga website explained why the actions were being taken, it said: “You may have already read or heard in the news recently an announcement from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regarding changes to our lending criteria.
“We have been working closely with the FCA to agree additional requirements to our lending criteria, which have been implemented as of the 2 October 2014.

“We have also today committed to a major customer forbearance programme for many existing customers whose loans would not have been made had they been subject to the new affordability criteria introduced today.”


It’s been 12 months since the Current Account Switch Service was launched and the Payments Council has delivered its latest figures on the number of transactions.

Since its launch 1.1 million customers have ditched their existing bank and switched accounts.

This is an increase of 19% compared with the same period a year before, when 925,985 switches took place.

The switching process is becoming more popular, partly because customers say it has been a painless experience. Nine out of ten consumers who have switched felt that there was very little effort involved on their part, while the same number said it was quick and the process went without a hitch.

Awareness of the service has also increased, with 70% of the public now aware of it and 61% are confident about what the new service involves and how it works.

It seems to be working well, with the service having cut the time it takes to switch bank accounts to just seven working days or less, when previously customers would have been waiting for between two and for weeks.

A spokesman for the Payments Council commented: “The service was designed to make life easier for customers by removing barriers to switching, with the aim of boosting competition in the banking sector. It’s clear from reviewing its very first year that it’s made great ground – empowering customers with the ability to switch their bank account easily and quickly if they choose to do so.”


Despite a much improved economic situation in the UK, over a third of people feel that their finances have not improved in the last 12 months.

According to research by two out of three Brits find their ever increasing utility bills a source of financial stress as well as seeing their budgets stretched to cover the rising cost of food.

Three quarters have adopted money-saving techniques in the past 12 months, with women appearing to be the most financially savvy. While women were more likely to adapt their lifestyles to suit their budgets – 42 per cent of women changed their shopping habits to cheaper alternatives, compared to just 28 per cent of men.

The report revealed men were much more likely to take out additional finance to maintain their standards of living. Some 42 per cent of men said they had borrowed money compared to just 28 per cent of women.

Almost half of people have increased their credit card borrowing, while 30 per cent owe money to the bank and just under a quarter are repaying a loan company.

A spokesman for VoucherCodes, said: “As we head into the winter months it seems the summer season has left Brits feeling the pinch. It’s clear the debt problem isn’t going away any time soon, but there are lots of resources available with advice on everything from budgeting to switching utility providers to help householders get back in the black.”